When I first started watching anime, reviews were invaluable assets in deciding what I should watch next. In those days, it was the reviews that spilled forward nothing but pure praise that caught my interest and if someone was declaring their undying love for an anime then I would take that review on board and go watch said anime they were waxing lyrical over. However as time wore on, my approach to reviews changed. As my list of anime I needed to watch grew, the need to read reviews to choose my next series to watch waned. Eventually the change occurred where the reviews I was mainly reading were from anime I’d already seen. And here comes the main point of this post: A good review was no longer something that convinced me to watch the anime in question but a review that agreed with my opinion on the series.
A while go, back in Ye Olde Days of my time at Bokutachi no Blog, I copy-pasted what I considered to be one of the best written reviews I’d ever read, a pure-fanboying review of Gurren Lagann. However as the comments pointed out, it was not a good review because he missed out vital aspects of Gurren Lagann that should be included in any review of the series. Taking a more cynical tone here, this review was not a good review because it did no correspond with how the reader felt about the show themselves.
It was noted on one of the ANNCasts that the reviews of anime on ANN had stopped being a tool from which people used to decide whether to purchase the anime in question. With fansubs, everyone had seen these anime and only served as a reminder that the series was now available on dvd. People now read the reviews to see the ANN take on the show and, adopting my cynical tone yet again, to see if the review was ‘correct’ or not.
Next time you read a review on MAL and you read a review from somebody who hated Baccano, do you instantly reach for the ‘not helpful’ button? Are you marking this review as poor because it doesn’t match with your personal opinion of the anime? If they’ve clearly expressed what made them mark the anime as they have, even if you disagree with their assessment, does that still make it a poor review? Maybe next time you won’t rage-click that ‘not helpful’ button.